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Information about fitness, health, nutrition and weight loss

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January Recipes - Click Here

A new year has started and with it new year's resolutions and high expectations for everything from losing weight to exercising more than the year before! We have decided to give you a boost to start the year off right if you're looking to eat healthy by introducing you to some power foods that have great health benefits that you may not have known about. We have incorporated many of these foods into the recipes for your January issue and encourage you to try some of them or make up your own using these powerful boosters!! You may be surprised to find that some of the foods you thought were bad for you are really quite healthy. Enjoy and have a healthy and happy New Year!!!!

We'd love to feature one of your favorite recipes in any one of our monthly issues, just send them on to us at Hope to hear from all of you in the following months!

10 Power Foods

In the spirit of starting the year off healthfully, we are bringing you these 10 tasty choices which are secret sources of health and energy. When we were kids, my mother's idea of healthy food was a salad with your homemade spaghetti with softball-size meatballs before you tore into her tray of cookies that were left from the holidays. Food was all natural as far as she was concerned, as long as you didn't overindulge.

Today, we know a good deal more about the mysterious world of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and all the other microscopic ingredients that make some foods better for you than others. Plus, scientists and nutritionists are continually revealing even more secret sources of health and energy. Only recently have they discovered that hidden beneath the otherwise ordinary surfaces of some everyday foods are agents of robust health that render them even more potent than, well, Mom's chicken soup. Included among them are the following 10 supercharged foods that pay bigger benefits than you may have ever suspected. So prepare to be surprised.

Peanut Butter - Combats diabetes, heart disease

In addition to sticking to the roof of your mouth, this school lunchbox staple may help stick it to two of the biggest health threats to aging Americans—diabetes and heart disease. Last November, Harvard researchers reported in The Journal of the American Medical Association that women who ate peanut butter or other forms of nuts at least five times a week lowered their risk of diabetes by 21 percent compared to those who didn't. This, thanks to the hefty amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in nut products. These good-for-you fats improve glucose and insulin stability, as well as protect against heart disease, says researcher Rui Jiang, M.D. Another good thing about peanuts (and all kinds of nuts, for that matter): They're good sources of fiber, says Christine Rosenbloom, Ph.D., a nutritionist at Georgia State University. The soluble fiber in peanuts helps control blood glucose and prevents dietary fat and cholesterol from entering the bloodstream, while insoluble fiber helps speed food through your digestive track, keeping you regular. Nuts are also loaded with the amino acid arginine, which may help relax blood vessels for better blood pressure control.

May we suggest: "Aim for a daily tablespoon of peanut butter or one ounce of nuts—enough to fill a shot glass or a regular handful," advises Rosenbloom.

Avocado - Neutralizes heart risks

Like peanut butter, avocado packs plenty of fat per serving, but also like peanut butter, most of the fat is the good unsaturated kind. At only 160 calories, a half avocado—the typical serving—also has the same amount of fiber as one slice of whole wheat toast. It also provides vitamin C and vitamin B6, and about one-third of your daily requirement of folate, a nutrient that helps neutralize excess levels of heart attack-causing homocysteine.

May we suggest: Use it in place of spreads like butter or mayonnaise. Tip: The green, smooth-skinned Florida avocados have less fat and fewer calories than the smaller, rough-skinned California kind.

Chili Peppers - Burn calories

The "hot" in chili peppers—an ingredient called capsaicin—is an effective weight-loss tool. Not only does eating peppers suppress appetite so you eat less—studies show that people eat fewer calories in a meal that typically includes chili, cayenne, or other types of "hot" peppers—but peppers also rev up metabolism, so you burn more calories even when you're not exercising. Capsaicin can also relieve sinus congestion by stimulating mucous membrane secretions. At only four calories per tablespoon, chili peppers also provide one-third of the daily recommendation for vitamin C, 10 percent of vitamin A, and several other antioxidants. (Think of antioxidants as the Delta Force of nutritional soldiers, flushing out destructive oxygen molecules responsible for some of the ravages of aging.)

May we suggest: Keep some red pepper powder handy, and get in the habit of adding a pinch to soups, omelets, and sauces.

Watermelon - Aids prostate health

Tomatoes get the headlines for their protective effect against prostate cancer, but this picnic classic actually does the job better. Ounce for ounce, watermelon contains 40 percent more of the active cancer-fighting compound lycopene than tomatoes, says David Kiefer, M.D., a fellow at The University of Arizona's Program in Integrative Medicine, headed by alternative medicine guru Andrew Weil, M.D. Not only is lycopene crucial in overall prostate health, but other studies suggest it may block the plaque buildup in your arteries that can lead to heart attack. And it may help to offset some of the cellular damage caused by environmental pollutants, bad diet, and even aging—which may lead to cancer, as well as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and arthritis.

May we suggest: Serve it as a side dish with fish or chicken and rice, or try it for breakfast served with whole-grain muffins.

Whole-Grain Cereal - Protects the heart

Breakfast each morning is a smart idea: Daily breakfast eaters are nearly half as likely to get heart disease or diabetes, or to become obese, as those who skip the morning meal, according to research presented at an American Heart Association meeting in March. This 10-year study examined only the importance of breakfast, but previous trials by the same Harvard researchers suggest that you'll fare best when that breakfast includes a bowl of whole-grain cereal. Why? It fills you up so you eat less throughout the day, stabilizes blood sugar, and has a higher concentration of fiber than most other foods, says study author and nutritionist Linda Van Horn, Ph.D., of Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. The soluble fiber in whole-grain cereals forms a gel-like material in intestines that prevents cholesterol and saturated fats from entering the bloodstream and also plays a beneficial role in metabolizing blood sugars. Meanwhile, the insoluble fiber in whole grains keeps you regular, so excreted carcinogens pass more quickly through your intestines—which may prevent colorectal cancer. And because these cereals are typically fortified, they also contain hefty amounts of vitamins C and B6 and iron, as well as folic acid and various phytochemicals that protect against heart disease and possibly some other cancers.

May we suggest: Read labels to ensure that whole grains are listed as the first ingredients and that the cereal contains at least two grams of fiber per serving. And watch the sugar content. (Less than three grams is recommended.) Bran cereals can contain the most fiber of all whole-grain choices, up to eight grams per serving.

Blueberries - Boost immunity

The best topping for your cereal—or any other meal? Blueberries, according to researchers at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. They tested almost 40 different fruits and vegetables—and found that this tiny fruit packs in the most antioxidant power. In fact, in only one-half cup, you can get twice as many antioxidant nutrients as most Americans consume in an entire day, says lead researcher Ronald Prior, Ph.D. That serving also delivers a mere 40 calories, virtually no fat, a hefty amount of vitamin C, and nearly two grams of fiber.

May we suggest: Don't just think of blueberries for cereal or pie. Blueberries are a sweet surprise in salads, as a solo snack, or served as a side dish with poultry and meat.

Apples - Protect lungs

No surprise that apples make this list. But chances are you never knew that eating an apple a day is particularly good for your lungs, all the more so if you smoke. In a study presented before the American Thoracic Society, British researchers said that apples were more effective than other fruits and vegetables in reducing the risk of developing serious disease, including lung cancer. In another study, Dutch scientists found that smokers who ate an apple a day were half as likely to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an umbrella term for emphysema and chronic bronchitis. But apples aren't just for smokers. They're a genuine nutritional treasure: An apple contains only 81 calories, with almost no fat and three grams of fiber—including a type called pectin that helps lower cholesterol levels and moderate blood sugar—says Rosenbloom. It also contains hefty amounts of boron, a mineral believed to boost alertness and help curb calcium losses that lead to osteoporosis.

May we suggest: An apple and cheese snack is smart as well as tasty. Cheeses, such as gouda, mozzarella, or cheddar in particular, may counteract the sugars in apples that could lead to tooth decay.

Salmon - Benefits the prostate and heart

The overall health-boosting, heart-smart benefits of this cold-water fish—along with mackerel, sardines, and herring—are well established. But bet you didn't know that salmon may help fight prostate cancer. In a 12-year study published in January in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, researchers from Harvard Medical School and the National Cancer Institute discovered that men who eat fish, including salmon, more than three times a week were less likely to develop prostate cancer. Most of the health-boosting credit in salmon goes to its treasure chest of omega-3 fatty acids, which also regulate depression and other mood disorders and are believed to reduce arthritis pain. "The acids in salmon and other fish help fight inflammation, so they are good for aches and pains," says Kiefer. Other studies show frequent fish consumption may protect against Alzheimer's.

May we suggest: Canned pink salmon has the highest amounts of omega-3s—but also the most salt. Sockeye salmon has the most vitamin B12, important for nerves and blood cells.

Eggs - Fight eye disease, lower cholesterol

Eggs will surprise you. Did you know eating them can help prevent heart and eye disease? "Eggs have gotten a bad rap; they're actually one of the best overall food sources available," says Rosenbloom. "They're very low in saturated fats and provide a lot of important nutrients. And the yolk is among the very best sources of lutein, an antioxidant that may help prevent age-related macular degeneration." But what about that cholesterol matter? Granted, a yolk has 213 milligrams of cholesterol—two-thirds of the recommended daily value—but newer research finds that it also contains phosphatidylcholine, which in lab animals decreased the absorption of dietary cholesterol contained in eggs into the bloodstream. In fact, a landmark study on 38,000 men in The Journal of the American Medical Association, part of the ongoing Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, concluded that eating one egg each day is "unlikely" to play any role in heart disease.

May we suggest: Oh, the possibilities. But since spinach is another rich source of vision-protecting lutein, how about eggs Florentine?

Turmeric - Fights cancer, eases pain and swelling

Fabled as the spice that lends zing and yellow color to curries and mustard, turmeric also provides numerous health benefits. Besides helping to ease arthritis, and muscle and postoperative pain and swelling—without the side effects of pain medications—it may also act as a cancer-fighting agent. The healing power of turmeric comes from its active ingredient—curcumin. In a study published last September in the medical journal Blood, researchers found that adding curcumin to cancer cells suppressed most of them and stopped others from spreading. More recent research on laboratory animals has shown that eating curcumin may protect skin during cancer radiation treatments.

May we suggest: No, we're not going to ask you to gobble this spice by the spoonful or whip up a curry every evening. But you might get in the habit of keeping a container within easy reach and using it occasionally to replace some of the salt and pepper in your cooking.


Written by: Maria Albus

You Can Do It

The other night I went to a spinning class at 6.30 pm. There was a woman sitting on the bike next to me. She is a Principal of a school, has a husband who works long hours, has two young teenage children and lives 45 minutes from town. (I also saw her at swim practice at 5:30am the day before). She has a very busy life, but finds the time and makes the necessary arrangements so that she can attend fitness sessions because it is important to her. She didn't complain about the drive, or the hour of fitness, or that she was tired, or the fact she had to go home and work on presentations for the school. She was at the class because she chose to make it and important health priority.

Anyway, this reading has lead to me copying an article written by John Mason from his book, ‘Know your limits, and then ignore them'. (He is talking about excuses)

"If you would like to know who is responsible for most of your troubles, take a look in the mirror. If you could kick the person responsible for most of your problems, you wouldn't' be able to sit down for three weeks. It's time for us to stay out of our own way."

Stewart Johnson said: "Our business in life is not to get ahead of others, but to get ahead of ourselves - to break our own records, to outstrip our yesterdays by today, to do our work with more force than ever before."

Stop only looking at where you are and start looking at what you can be. Be aware of where your mind wanders, because your words and actions will follow it - the words at any moment and actions very soon.

No one can defeat you unless you defeat yourself first. Self-image sets the boundaries and limits of each of our individual accomplishments. "Don't commit treason against your own life and purpose" said Tim Redmond.

You carry with you the world in which you must live. Know this: When you have a great dream, your mind will be your biggest enemy. Facing major obstacles in life? Remember you are your own doctor when it comes to curing cold feet, a hot head and a stuffy attitude.

Your future depends on many things, but mostly on you (Frank Tyger). You may succeed if nobody else believes in you, but you will never succeed if you don't believe in yourself. Remember Zig Ziglar's words. "What you picture in your mind, your mind will go to work to accomplish. When you change your pictures you automatically change your performance." Whatever you attach consistently to the words "I am", you will become.

Living life to the fullest and living life without guilt and learning to develop good lifestyle habits starts and finishes with our attitudes. Believe you can do it and you will. Don't allow any doubts to counter positive actions. You know you should exercise, so don't make excuses of time or lack of energy stop you doing something that will give you greater self esteem, and a sense of peace.

You can do it. Don't ever give up.

Submitted by: Dr. Doug

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